PCOS and new supplements

I’m not sure that I’ve written about this topic before – I’m thinking I probably did years ago…

In 2005, I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).  I became symptomatic in November 2004, when my cycles became erratic and I stopped ovulating.  An ultrasound was performed in February and I was told I had no cysts and my labs were normal, so I didn’t have PCOS.  I spent that summer going from doctor to doctor saying “But, I have all of the symptoms!  Please tell me what is wrong!”  The endocrinologist said that because my lipid panel was normal, I didn’t have PCOS.  Then the GYN I went to told me that a woman couldn’t possibly know if she was ovulatory.  Then he checked and said “Oh, you’re not ovulating.”  (REALLY!? Duh.)  He said maybe I had a “variant form of PCOS” but told me I just needed to lose weight (yeah, not such a helpful doctor!  And he lost my respect with the ignorant ovulation comment.)  Then I found a doctor at Tribal Health who took one look at me and said “You have the classic PCOS look.”  About a month later, in late September, I ended up in the ER.  I had emergency surgery the following day to remove a degenerating fibroid (10 cm in size that hadn’t been there in February’s ultrasound) and the doctor took images of my ovaries during the laporoscopy that showed they were full of cysts and the ultrasound the performed the previous day showed that I had dozens of cysts that had a “string of pearls appearance consistent with polycystic ovaries”.  So the moral of this novela is that you should pay attention to your body and advocate for yourself because the doctors certainly won’t.  (This was the point when I realized that doctors didn’t automatically know everything and that they didn’t always have my best interest at heart – nor did they always have TIME to spend to figure out what was going on with me.)  The GYN who performed my surgery (different doctor than the one who made the ovulation remark) immediately diagnosed me with PCOS and put me on 1500mg of Metformin.

That was almost 10 years ago.  While I am ovulatory on the metformin and cycling regularly, I still have the issues with low blood sugar, obesity, hair loss, and hirsutism.  I took a supplement called Glucorein made of green coffee bean extract that seemed to be promising, but it had just come out and they didn’t quite have the dosage dialed in when I was taking it.  After 3 months of a trial, I found out that I should have really been on three times the dose I was taking.  And at 1/3 of the dose I needed, the cost was $60/month.  $180 a month was just too much to do.  The green coffee bean extract (Chlorogenic Acid) is supposed to work like metformin and help your body deal with insulin appropriately.  I did lose a little weight on it.  (I just went to their website to get the link and found out they have reformulated the product to be called Glucorein HOP and it now contains inositol – which is where this post is headed…)

This year I have battled against chronic UTI’s and in my search for something besides antibiotics to treat them, I discovered d-mannose.  “D-Mannose is a naturally occurring simple sugar that is closely related to glucose.  Scientific evidence suggests d-mannose may play an important role in maintaining the health of bladder cells.”  I have to tell you, since I began taking two of these per day, I haven’t had a single UTI.  I will not go without this stuff from now on!  I hear it is also helpful for people with Interstitial cystitis (IC).

I also went through a period of feeling really down and depressed emotionally and had some bloodwork done and it showed that while my vitamin B12 level was in the middle of the lab’s normal range, my doctor wanted it about double that.  I remembered that Metformin blocks the absorption of B12 and so does omeprazole – both of which I take.  So, I started taking 3000-4000mg of B12 sublingually each day and almost instantly, my mood improved.  It was so rapid that my husband immediately noticed.  So, if you’re a PCOSer who is struggling with depression, try some B12.  Some people believe there is a link between PCOS and B-vitamin deficiency anyway, so even if you’re not on Metformin, it’s worth a shot.  Your body will pass any extra B12 in your urine if you don’t need it.

This month, I’m seeing a new GYN.  I’m tired of feeling tired and having all these PCOS symptoms (but am not complaining about having a regular cycle!)  I decided to check and see if there is any new research out there on PCOS and came across a supplement called inositol.  (Following is from WebMD)

Inositol is a vitamin-like substance. It is found in many plants and animals. It can also be made in a laboratory.

Inositol is used for diabetic nerve pain, panic disorder, high cholesterol, insomnia, cancer, depression, schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, promoting hair growth, a skin disorder called psoriasis, and treating side effects of medical treatment with lithium.

Inositol is also used by mouth for treating conditions associated with polycystic ovary syndrome, including failure to ovulate; high blood pressure; high triglycerides; and high levels of testosterone.

How does it work?

Inositol might balance certain chemicals in the body to possibly help with conditions such as panic disorder, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and polycystic ovary syndrome.

I am hearing that other PCOSers are seeing good results with inositol – used alone or with metformin (although using them together might drop your blood sugar levels too much?)  I began taking it yesterday, in powder form.  Jarrow brand.  It has a slightly sweet taste when mixed in water.  2.5 tsp daily.  We’ll see how it works, but I’m hopeful!  I’ve hopefully found a GYN who is all about making sure hormones are working properly, including thyroid.  So I’m hopeful that I’ll get some answers and make some progress there, too.

* This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this Website.

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4 thoughts on “PCOS and new supplements

  1. Thank you so much for sharing your experience with PCOS… It’s always so comforting to know that you aren’t the only one going through what you’re going through. For the record, I took Solgar’s Inositol for about 2 months and saw good results in terms of skin improvements, slowed hair loss and generally more bearable PCOS symptoms. Give it a try!

    • I hate that there are so many of us out there struggling with PCOS! I’m glad that there look like there may be a few more natural approaches to treatment though! When I was diagnosed, it was pretty much Metformin and nothing else. (I tried all the herbs, etc. and had no improvement…)

      • I was only put on Metformin about 5 years after I was diagnosed – and hated it! It did nothing for me and made me feel constantly sick. I was also put on Diane-35 initially and after a year I was bloated and fat, depressed and not far away from a stroke… I’ve gone off it, but hopefully one day I’ll be brave enough to fully embrace natural treatments and get off the hormones!

  2. Metformin is awful stuff. Those of us who take it or have taken it can all agree! I am at the point that I really don’t see any affect from it – not even side effects. So it’s time for a change. I took Yaz for six months and ended up in the ER with chest pain and I’ve never seen hospital staff move so fast as when I said “Oh, and I’m taking Yaz”. Fortunately, it was nothing, but still scary! Hugs to you!

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